It’s a fully autonomous mad rush to the virtual finish line. While Tesla Autopilot has received its fair share of criticism over the years, the time has come for Ford BlueCruise. Unfortunately, Ford BlueCruise found a clue, and the clue is to find out what has worked for Tesla Autopilot.
Comparing Tesla Autopilot and Ford BlueCruise
In case you don’t know, Sandy Munro is an automotive engineer that is exceptionally well-versed in vehicles. Munro has sat down with Elon Musk before and regularly criticizes Tesla for one reason or another, as reported by Teslarati. However, Munro does drive a Tesla Model 3. However, Ford BlueCruise did not impress Munro. At all, actually.
Both Tesla Autopilot and Ford BlueCruise are advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). BlueCruise is a lot less further along in design than Autopilot, and it shows. Drivers can only activate BlueCruise in specific areas called “blue zones.” In the video below, Munro and Ford Driver Assist Technology Chief Engineer Chris Billman took a trip on a freeway in a blue zone.
According to Ford, BlueCruise has over 130,000 miles of pre-qualified highways that offer hands-free driving. Tesla Autopilot technically requires hands on the steering wheel at all times.
How Ford BlueCruise perfoms on the highway
BlueCruise simply knows to drive on a straight highway. When Munro questions if the Ford vehicle will take the offramp to get to another destination, Billman tells him no. It won’t even change lanes without the driver changing lanes manually. The navigation aspect isn’t integrated, Billman notes.
Munro must immediately place his hands on the wheel to navigate the bend when the road starts to curve. It’s a bit odd. Ford BlueCruise will offer over-the-air updates like Tesla Autopilot offers. Ford does plan on including lane change assist and speed control options. Munro says Ford BlueCruise performed OK, but he does not seem impressed at all. He offers a diplomatic opinion and delves into why he finds Tesla Autopilot so impressive.
Munro suggests that Ford get in a Tesla and try out Tesla Autopilot to see how it compares. “Maybe we will get another ride and drive, and ill say, ‘wow, this is marvelous.’ But not this time.”
It takes time to get up to speed
There are some definite improvements Ford can make to the BlueCruise system right away. When Munro needed to put his hands back on the wheel, the alert was very quiet. If an unsuspecting driver was using the system, this might not be enough to attract attention. Plus, BlueCruise should include basic maneuvering like lane changes.
Trying to use Ford BlueCruise on a regular road seems quite far away for now. While Tesla Autopilot isn’t perfect, it has proven relatively good at navigating the city streets. Thus far, BlueCruise will debut in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150 Lightning. It seems that BlueCruise is in the same place Autopilot was four or five years back. It takes time to get these features correct, and Ford has a lot of work to do.